Sir Francis DrakeSir Francis Drake.

Tavistock is rightly called the "Doorway to the Moor", Devon's entrance to the most beautiful Dartmoor National Park. It was here at Tavistock that Sir Francis Drake was born.

Tavistock itself is a sleepy market town of great charm. It holds a weekly pannier market and has various other themed events throughout the year in the covered Market Hall built by the Duke of Bedford.

The picture below is one of a typical market day around this festive season. It was taken in the later part of the afternoon. During the mornings, right up until lunch time the market is usually very crowded. market stallsThe people ebb and flow along the aisles between the well-laid-out stalls. Many sell craft goods now.

In the recent past the stalls would have been selling dairy produce such as butter and cream, but the advent of 'edge-of-town' supermarkets has sounded the death knell for these small local-produce businesses.

Of great historic importance to the area in the past, Tavistock never does itself justice in declaring and advertising its historic connections.

Betsy Grimbal's Tower - Abbey ruins.
The tower stands close to the Bedford Hotel and is easily accessed from the street for inspection. Please do remember that this is situated within the vicarage grounds.
Inside the archway is a large stone sarcophagus said to have once held the bones of Ordulf, onetime Abbot of Tavistock. The thigh bones were of such a length that they indicated the remains were those of a giant of a man!
The Abbey was sacked by the Vikings in 977 when they entered the Tamar and Tavy rivers, burned Tavistock and advanced as far as Lydford.

It is here, at Tavistock, that John Taylor of mining fame spent much of his time overseeing the copper and tin mines that abound in this particular area of Devon. Tavistock owes its prosperity of the past to Taylor and the surrounding tin and copper mines of the 19th century.

The above link will be of particular interest to those who would like to know more about Wheal Friendship copper mine at Mary Tavy.